AJC Condemns Sentencing of Bangladeshi Editor Shoaib Choudhury

Jan 09, 2014, 12:13 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC condemned a Bangladeshi court decision to sentence Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of the Weekly Blitz, to seven years in prison for attempting to visit Israel more than a decade ago and for "harming the country's interests" through his articles. The paper is the largest tabloid English-language weekly in Bangladesh.

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"Shame on Bangladesh! Shoaib Choudhury is a voice of reason who has courageously charted a path of engagement with the larger world, including Israel, and has sought to advance Muslim-Jewish relations," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "That these are considered 'crimes' in Bangladesh, and worthy of harsh punishment, is deplorable and severely damages the country's image. We shall not remain silent, and we call on leaders of democratic countries to express their dismay directly to the government of Bangladesh."

In 2006, AJC presented Choudhury with its Moral Courage Award in recognition of his deep commitment to interfaith dialogue and his steadfast determination to speak out when others sought to silence him. While Bangladesh authorities prevented him from traveling to Washington to receive the award at AJC's Annual Meeting, he did manage to visit AJC headquarters in 2007 and spoke to a standing-room-only audience.

Over the years, his newspaper offices have been bombed and he has been targeted with death threats. He attempted to travel to Israel, in 2003, to attend a conference on coexistence.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee